As I watched the brothers eat this morning, I remembered my precious cat Hope, who died of diabetes a few months before Jack and Joe came. My daughter had found Hope under a bush out front, from where she had heard what she thought were little bird peeps that turned out to be from a very tiny kitten. We fed her with a bottle until she bit off the nipple and almost choked on it, and then she went to real food. Eventually we made her an indoor-outdoor cat.
One night Hope didn’t come home. It was unusual and I was distressed. The first morning after she went missing, there was a real cold snap. Then a freezing rain poured down in heavy sheets off and on all day. I was surprised it didn’t hail, it was so cold outside. As I watched through the window, suddenly I became frightened and began to cry. I visualized delicate little Hope wandering out there, lost, freezing, wet, developing hypothermia. I cried on and off all day, like the rain.
She was gone for a week. I was heartbroken, and hopeless, when the neighbor around the corner called to tell us Hope was under her house. She had jumped through an unscreened vent and couldn’t get back out. We fetched her and when we got her home I realized that the rain had been, in truth, a miracle. Remarkably, she was not at all dehydrated; plump skin bounced right back when I poked it. I was surprised. She had been under a house, with no nourishment or water, for a week. Or so we thought. That pouring rain the first day she was missing, that had made me cry, must have streamed under the house through the vents, providing plenty of water. Probably there were mice and other critters to eat. God sends me proof time after time, and still I cry and worry about things, like rain, that call for joy. When will I ever get it through my thick head that appearances are not truth? Geez Louise.
Jack and Joe don’t know it, but it was Hope’s food that I fed them when they first started coming around to the backyard. The food that she left when she died. I wonder if “the boys” would be grateful if they knew. Somehow I don’t think so. Gratitude isn’t big with cats.